Dave's Progress. Chapter 52: Happy Birthday, Dave!

So, this is just a quick posting to wish myself a happy birthday. After all, if no one else is going to, I might as well do it myself! OK, so I'm joking. I have received quite a few cards from family and friends and have got more or less everything that I asked for. In fact, I even went out for a meal last night with my parents as part of my celebrations.
However, I am now officially "middle-aged" and indeed, physically, sometimes feel even older. So, reaching the grand old age of 38 has made me feel old.
I believe I wrote last year, on passing 37, in a post called "Birthday Blues" that, because of being ill for so long, I have a strange relationship with my age. While I feel, for example, mentally about 18, I feel physically a lot older. And while my peers would almost uniformly seem to be married with kids and mortgages, I just plod along with my voluntary work, mental health groups and blogs. It is not surprising, then, that one begins to feel a touch of "status anxiety" about all this. I wonder why I don't have all the trappings that my age should surely bring with it- nice car, nice house, children, a wife. However, I can say that all of this has become problematic because of my illness, the realisation of which makes my situation a little more bearable than it otherwise would be. If I had not been ill I would indeed begin to wonder what on earth was wrong with me. And while I must say that my illness does not exclude me from leading a "normal" life, the problems which it brings with it, many of which I have highlighted in this blog, certainly make it more difficult.
So, as I begin to feel my own mortality bearing down on me (my teenage years of feeling indestructible now gone) and I ponder my strange and odd, sometimes wonderful, sometimes harrowing progress, I feel that this strange sort of "arrested development" has not been all that bad. And who wants to be "normal" anyway?
Indeed, I sometimes feel like saying that my own experiences, beyond the ken of many, have been a blessing in disguise. I would not write this blog or do the voluntary work I do were it not for my illness. As I have perhaps said before, while being my nemesis, my illness has also been my saviour. So sometimes I feel a bit like Roy Batty in Philip Dick's novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", and the later film, "Blade Runner", saying, "I have seen things you wouldn't believe". Or, to put it another way and to quote Henry David Thoreau, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away".
That's all for now from your "normal", average, paranoid and delusional man.


Happy birthday, Dave!(smile) I have a son that will be 38 in January. As I read your words, I was moved by your thoughts on 'age' and 'normalcy'. I don't really believe there is a true definition of 'normal'. We are all so unique. There is, however, this ideological perception of normal. You know, those little 'pigeonholes' we are placed in.(smile) You are...you. And it doesn't sound like that's a bad thing, Dave. You seem to be a most compassionate and caring person.

You are at an age where others think they must have new cars, mortgages, children...but after you reach a certain age, as in senior years, none of that is important. We start out with nothing, and in the end, material things become unimportant in our lives. The only truly valuable thing in life is love. It is the only thing worth striving for.

I enjoyed my visit with you.(smile) And I loved the Thoreau quote. He's captured life quite brilliantly...

Blessings to you,
klahanie said…
Dear David,
Happy birthday, young fella'. I was wondering about the parade in Stoke. It was obviously a parade to honour your birthday:-) (I was asked to stand at the back of the parade, shovel in hand).
I must heartily concur with what Mattie has noted. Let me just add, that no matter what drummer you listen too; your ongoing journey will continue to progress in a most positive way. I know this, because you want that choice.
With warm birthday wishes, your friend, Gary.
David said…
Dear Mattie,
Thankyou so much for your wise comments and for visiting my blog.
I used to have an aunt who would say similar things, i.e. that we are born into this world with nothing and no doubt we go out of it not being able to take what we "own" with us. Like you say, the only thing that survives, and the only true thing worth striving for, is love.
When I bemoaned my status my aunt also used to say, "don't worry, something will turn up, even if it's your toes". A bit of home-grown wisdom from the potteries in England there.
Anyway, I'm glad that you enjoyed my post and hope that you will visit again.
Yours with Very Best Wishes,
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thankyou for your warm birthday wishes.
Sorry I had to put you at the back of my parade, only somebody had to clean up the, erm, mess.
Gary, I realise, although I am beginning to feel old, I am still but a "young fella" in your gargantuanly aged and wisened eyes. I can only hope that I make it to such a grand old age myself. Thanks once again and with Very Best Wishes,
From your friend,
David said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
dcrelief said…
Dear David,
Happy Birthday; although it is a belated wish I send. I hope that the things you need are always there when you need them. I hope the dreams you hold will come to you, and not make you wait. And most of all, I hope the love you share with others, returns to you ten-fold.

Again a wonderful writing froma wonderful person. It is my pleasure to read about your life.

Most sincerely,
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Thank you so much for your kind, warm comment. I think my head is beginning to swell again.
But seriously, I sincerely thank you for your continued interest in my blog. It wouldn't be the same without you.
Yours with Very Best Wishes,

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